Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels) | North Coast Brewing Co.

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Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels)Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels)

Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.16%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Vintages: 2005, 2009, 2013

Added by BeerBeing on 06-03-2007

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Reviews: 352 | Ratings: 1,051
Photo of Moose90
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Served on-tap, 10.5 oz pour was more than enough.

A — Pours a deep ruby hued brown into the glass, dark and rich looking, there is a caramel colored head on-top of the beer that leaves behind some really nice consistent lacing.

S — Smells rich and boozy, big hit of bourbon in the best possible way, vanilla, cinnamon, oak, caramel, brown sugar, dark fruits.

T — Taste is dominated by bourbon and oak, so delicious, great layers of bourbon flavor. Vanilla, cinnamon, oak, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, dark fruit again.

M — Full bodied, huge, rich, delicious.

O — Far and away the best Barrel Aged beer I have ever had, the barrel character on this is just out of this world.

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Photo of nhindian
4.88/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2009 Vintage

Appearance - Old Stock doesn't have much in the way of looks. The body is ruddy and murky, and when viewed in the brownish hue it has, it looks sort of like a port wine. A khaki-colored head springs forth as it hits the glass, but fades almost as rapidly as it appears, leaving nothing but a slow trickle of carbonation to break the surface.

Aroma - Every time I smell this beer, I am hit immediately with a rich sweetness that runs the gamut from bourbon to dark fruits. Figs and raisin are the most noticeable, and the combination with the liquor makes it the perfect smell for a cold Autumn night like tonight. Toffee, caramel, and a touch of cocoa add an additional layer of sweetness as well.

Taste - The taste is a faithful representation of the aroma down to a 'T'. Each note is reproduced on the palate for the taste buds to savor and it goes over just as positively here. The first flavors are the cocoa and fig, mixed with the bourbon to give it a warming alcohol-soaked quality. It also draws comparisons to port here as well in my opinion. The finish is filled with toffee and barrel character. There is an overarching presence of alcohol heat, but it never is at the forefront or detrimental.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel is not as heavy as I would've expected for a beer of this size. It definitely has some meat to it, but it flows gracefully over the palate and doesn't weigh heavily on it. There is a zesty amount of carbonation that gives it a sort of cola-like similarity.

Closing Arguments - Overall this is a wonderful beer from start to finish. The flavors are deep and layered and one needs only to take a small sip to have them develop rapidly in the mouth. This is definitely a beer to cradle for an hour or so and appreciate how it changes with temperature and after the palate grows acclimated to some of the flavors that allow the more nuanced aspects rise. In comparisons to other beers, I can easily draw parallels to Samuel Adam's Utopias, with this being a more 'mild' take. Although expensive, this is a beer that would be excellent for a celebration or special occasion, or just to sit out on the porch as the weather changes and take in the world.

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Photo of Chcshammonde
4.64/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage. Looks like a dark barleywine. Smell: overwhelming! Rich bourbon, a lot of raisins, sweet toffee, malt. Taste: delish. Decadent layered malts, gooey raisins, a bit of slight spice from bourbon, and some spices that I can't quite put my finger on. Feel: coats mouth but not overly thick. Overall: yum.

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Photo of JLaw55
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is boozy. No, seriously. Like drinking Bourbon boozy. This has more in common flavor wise with Bourbon than with beer. It's the reason I couldn't rate it any higher, because outside of the booziness, the flavors are quite nice.

It is a dark slick brown color, with no head or lacing. It is dominated by caramel with layers of dates, raisins, oak, and nuts in the background.

Would not revisit. Just not my thing, even though it was well made for what it is. This is straying pretty far from what I would consider beer to be.

Would Drink Again: No
Would Purchase Again: No

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

at long last i finally got to try this one. what a beer, almost entirely indistinguishable from the regular old stock, the barrel influence on this is huge, and bourbon flavors abound. its deep amber to mahogany in color, with a rusty off white head on it that clings to the edges of the glass as it slowly recedes. tons of oak and sweet bourbon on the nose, mixing an already caramel forward smell with dense sweet malt. booze seems restrained for the listed abv, but that changes with a little temperature. more oak than char on the barrel side of things in smell and taste, molasses and rich crystal malt, and some semi english yeast strain thats done all it could do. impressive depth on this, and still a pretty well hidden strength, although its warming going down for sure. i get interesting flavors of cedar and even cinnamon on the tail end of this, tied up in candy sugar and corn mashed spirit. surprisingly lively on the palate, definitely coating, but well enough carbonated for what it is, especially being a 2013 bottle. looking at the page here, it looks like they do a rye, a brandy, and a wheated in this series. i loved the bourbon one, but it makes me thirsty for these others. i think this falls somewhere near the english barleywine category, but its not like any of the other special strong ales, and despite my resistance, it really is worth the price of admission!

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Photo of Jwale73
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a mahogany hue with an off-white head that quickly dissipates. Clarity is mostly translucent with just a slight haze. Nose in this beer is incredible - Bourbon, figs and toffee. Taste expresses candied figs, caramel, toffee, vanilla and toasted grains. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body, with a mild, even carbonation and a trace of heat at the finish. Overall, this beer is tasting great right now. One of the more memorable beers I've had in recent memory. I wish I had a couple more bottles in the cellar, but the price point on this beer was a bit high when it came out.

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Photo of LehighAce06
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

My Untappd comments from at the time of checking the beer in are as follows: Very smooth, richly sweet with caramel, vanilla and toffee flavors, a touch of coffee in the finish. Strong bourbon flavor and some booze.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.99/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2013 Vintage

Appearance - Pours a dark and foreboding ruby brown with very little in the way of suds. A few bubbles around the edge, otherwise it's a flat as a pond on a windless day.

Smell - Bountiful notes of caramel and toffee fill the nostrils first, while strong additions of vanilla and oak follow closely behind. Rum raisin fruitcake can be found as well.

Taste - Bourbon sweetness upfront along with a light caramel flavor. Mid-taste brings a bit of the fruity raisin character and a touch of vanilla. Sugary sweetness, akin to that found in a quad Belgian, giving a light cola . Finishes with more boozy qualties.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with low to moderate carbonation. Sticky, syrupy texture, then a drying, belly warming boozy finish.

Overall - Very good, but I'm a bigger fan of the non-BA version. IMO, the base beer just doesn't stand up well to the BA treatment and gets overrun and buried by the bourbon qualities. I like a BA beer to have a lighter barrel influence and to compliment the qualities found in the beer; this is nearly the opposite. Despite this, I still find pleasure in drinking it.

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Photo of teromous
3.78/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2013 Cellar Reserve 14.1% in a 500ml bottle

Appearance: Dark very murky brown body with fervent carbonation that tries to sustain an off-yellow head that dissipates as quickly as it forms. It leaves no head shortly after pouring.

Aroma: It has a very rich bourbon and oak aroma.

Taste: The most prominent flavor here is bourbon. A sweetness follows throughout the palate and starts with a bit of sweet caramel and ends with a very sweet alcohol flavor. It's not just the taste of alcohol but an actual sweetness.

Mouthfeel: It is a nice full bodied sipper. The beer presents a smooth and welcoming drinking experience delivering 14.1% ABV as if it were nothing more than a cream.

Overall: I didn't feel that the beer had much complexity in aroma or flavor. It relies heavily on the bourbon flavor to carry the beer. For bourbon and bourbon beer fans I would highly recommend the beer. For those looking for a complex Old Ale I would say to look elsewhere. The overall drinking experience was nice though. It is a very enjoyable beer to drink and it tastes good. In the end that is really what matters the most. The fact that they hid 14.1% ABV in this beer is truly remarkable. I recommend this as a holiday beer if you can manage to hold on to it long enough. I would buy it again, but I would probably try one of the other variants if given the choice.

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Photo of zac16125
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500mL bottle into a snifter
Vintage 2013
14.1% ABV

A: Murky, nearly opaque mahogany brown with fizzy light tan head thats not even enough to cover the whole surface of the beer, and dissipates away almost instantaneously. Leaves no lacing, but some alcohol legs. Nice ruby hues when held to light. 3.75

S: Aroma is huge. Tons of dark fruits; sweet, vinous, and almost tart. Significant barrel notes with charred oak, bourbon vanilla, and a peat like character. Caramel/toffee, candied sugar, and an ethanol boozy character to round it all out. Fantastic. 4.75

T: Candied sugar, caramel/toffee, some hop-like bitterness characters although they aren’t prominent, lots of sweetness on the backend including dark fruits and a long lingering toffee/caramel finish. Barrel notes are certainly present, although not as strong as the aroma, with an oaky vanilla and bourbon booze. Great flavor with a good complexity. 4.5

M/D:Full bodied but not thick, carbonation appropriately low, very good smoothness, alcohol is noticeable but at 14.1% its exceptionally well masked. Drinkability is very good. 4.5

O: Excellent beer. Loved every drop. Highly recommend. 4.5

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Photo of Suds_With_Buds
4.96/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

2011 500ml bottles, this was the highlight of the night thats for sure.

Rich decadent chocolate fruit aromas flood the nose from a good foot away.

Light carb and clear deep red appearance.

This taste is to die for, the heat from the bourbon is present but in no way overpowering, if anything it helps the very rich notes of sugary caramel and raisins explode into a wonderfully complex brew.

This is the best Old Ale I've tasted. Can't wait to try the Brandy barrel aged version. The price point is the only turn off about this beer, but the taste is unrivaled.

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Photo of richj1970
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 500 ml bottle into Old Guardian glass. No visible bottle date.

A: Pours a remarkably clear reddish brown with two finger tan head with good retention and settled to a thin ring around the edges. Very little lacing.

S: Bourbon, raisins, dates, brown sugar, coconut, and toffee.

T: Nice bourbon bite right off the bat. Very complex flavors lying underneath. A fruity component with some raisins and dates. Some sweetness with brown sugar, caramel, and toffee. Light oaky notes. Pleasantly surprised that the sweetness is well balanced and not over powering.

M: Full bodied but lighter than I was expecting. Above average carbonation. Finish has a slight alcohol burn, and a little sweetness.

O: Fantatstic beer. I was hesitant to pick this up based on price, but very glad I did.

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Photo of superspak
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle into snifter; 2013 vintage, bottled in early 2015. Pours fairly cloudy deep reddish brown color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of huge raisin, plum, fig, date, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, coconut, toasted oak, bourbon, light leather, and oak/toasted earthiness. Fantastic aromas with awesome balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, fig, date, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, coconut, toasted oak, bourbon, light leather, and oak/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate bourbon/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, fig, date, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, coconut, toasted oak, bourbon, light leather, and oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Incredible complexity, robustness, and and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; with a great malt/oak spice balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a creamy and lightly slick/sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light-moderate warmth lingering after the finish. Minimal booziness overall in aromas and flavors. Overall this is an absolutely incredible barrel aged old ale style. All around fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the huge ABV. An insanely enjoyable and delicious offering.

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Photo of barczar
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage.

Huge dark fruit aromas, richly sweet dates and figs, raisins, touch of bourbon, vanilla.

More raisins in flavor, light cardboard oxidation, a touch of sherry, and a hint of cocoa at the finish. Still a bit of heat, but I like the direction this is going.

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Photo of TX-Badger
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage. Pours a nice brown color with little tan head. Dark fruits, raisins, figs, dates, bourbon, and oak on the nose; follows onto the palate. Finishes with bourbon warmth and more fruit.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into Spiegelau glass 2013 Cellar Reserve

A: brown hazy brackish in appearance light off white head that is gone quickly

S: Vanilla, toffee, raisins, soft bourbon

T: big vanilla bourbon with some dark fruits figs prunes raisins some burnt sugar tastes can taste the alcohol

M: nice feel lightly viscous from the alcohol lighter than when i would have thought

O: This beer is quite good although the alcohol heat is pretty extensive this base beer is stellar aged and the bourbon is quite a welcome

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Photo of WhiskeyMax
4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into tulip with half inch of tan bubbly head that went away almost immediately. 2013 vintage. Nice rich dark brown color. The nose seem a bit watery to me. Not as strong as I expected. That being said it does smell good. Molasses, brown sugar, dried fruit.
Taste is great. More in the taste than nose. I like that it is not so overly whisked, and I like me some whiskey, but think the two should be separate. Smooth and rich mouthfeel, but nit syrupy. A fine beer. Pricey at $18.50 would like to buy another to cellar but cost may be prohibitive.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

'13 vintage, purchased at Premiere Gourmet in Buffalo, NY.

This one pours a murky brown, with not much in the way of head or lacing.

This one smells awesome, tons of brown sugar, molasses, caramel, and bourbon, just exploding out of the glass.

Once you get to the flavor though, there's some unmistakably strong coconut flavors. It's amazing how they can get such a strong coconut flavor without actually adding any. Magic of the barrels, I guess. This one is a malty dream, so much caramel and brown sugar, with a really rich bourbon flavor folded in. The bourbon is not super strong, and doesn't stand out compared to the other flavors in this one. It's just a nice component. This is definitely sweet, but is elegant enough to never be cloying.

This isn't syrupy, which is nice, it actually has a decently creamy mouthfeel, with a lower level of carbonation, and a pretty thick body.

I think this is a slight bit better than the brandy variant, but both are fantastic.

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Photo of Marius
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brown pour with a generous amount of head with decent retention. Sweet and syrupy, very heavy on the bourbon, with additional notes of vanilla, maple syrup, some coffee, dark fruit and cherries.

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Photo of Beer-Revelry
4.92/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Duvel snifter glass.

Drinking this one at literal room temperature (60 degrees).

A - Pours a whiskey/cognac brown color. Forms a 2 finger, medium-tan colored quickly-dissipating head. High head potential, super low head retention. No lacing.
S - 5 - Wow, this is incredibly complex. Malts, bittersweet chocolate, very light barleywine style hop profile, leather, oak wood, wood sap, bourbon whiskey, butter, butterscotch, brown sugar, candied figs and plums, currants, raisins, dates, light marzipan almond cherry and lots of booze.
T - 5 - Taste matches the smell identically. Reminds me of a triple strong version of Founder's Backwoods Bastard for reference.
F - 4.5 - Quite smooth and oily, but also a bit then. Could be thicker. Really the only aspect holding this beer back from a perfect 100.
O - 5 - What an absolutely mind blowing brew. If you can get your hands on this, cellar it and save it for a special occasion, its amazing!

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage

A - Pours a crystal clear deep burgundy color with light carbonation and a very thin lacing ring around the top.

S - Molasses, brown sugar, figs, dates, raisons, very delicate bourbon notes.

T - Lots of layers going on: Raisons, figs, light molasses, sweet caramel/toffee, vanilla, cherries, oak, and the bourbon almost comes across as "Rum-like".

M - A definite alcohol presence with warming on the way down

O - Wonderfully deep and complex, time has served this vintage well, glad I sat on this bottle and wish I bought more but it came with a hefty price tag. No regrets, though!

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Photo of ohbeer89
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This one gets docked on appearance because it pours cloudy. You'd think that the 2013 vintage would have dropped bright by now. A very noticeable bourbon burn on the nose coupled with dried stone fruits and raisins, the taste is exactly what you'd expect if someone told you "bourbon barrel aged old ale." Perhaps I'm docking this one more on value than on true merit, but this is by far the most expensive beer I've ever had and it simply isn't worth it.

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Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.77/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A great beer elevated to another level by barrel aging. Other than a mild burn, there was nothing else I could fault about this beer. Definitely worth trying, even though the price/oz ($19, 2013 batch) was a tad steep.

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Photo of Franziskaner
4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark brown in color with a massive amount of murkiness. There's just a trace of beige head around the rim of the glass. I smell a massive amount of sweet bourbon and light malt. The flavor is a massive amount of sweetness from the bourbon and loads of light malt. The mouth is thick and sticky.

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Photo of uvachief
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle drank in April of 2015. Poured from a 500ml bottle into a brandy snifter. Aggressive pour resulted in a full finger of head that quickly dissipated. Golden orange brown color that is more orange than brown. Light penetrates it. Lots of carbonation appears present. Smells of bourbon, mild malts and dark fruit. Taste is very very complex. Bourbon whiskey (not true KY straight bourbon) then dark fruits like raisins, plumbs or dates. Then hints of caramelized sugars with malts, vanilla, oak and a host of other subtle flavors. Big boozy burn going down. Burn is significant but beer is smooth. Powerful ale. ABV is huge. But the complex flavors help beat it down. Finishes with dark fruit and bourbon. After one glass, you feel it. Don't drink and drive on this one. Now I know why it is a 500ml bottle. 6-8 oz pours would make a lot of sense. Feel is pretty thin - it is an ale - but it does have an odd lingering chewy taste. An EXCELLENT ale aged in bourbon barrels. Can't wait to try the one aged in brandy barrels.

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Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 352 ratings.
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